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A Roman Glass Plate, Roman Imperial, 1st Century AD - Sands of Time Ancient Art
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A Roman Glass Plate, Roman Imperial, 1st Century AD

of transparent glass with light yellow-green tint, the simple form is linear and elegant:  the wide shallow body is hemispherical, flaring expansively outward to a wide tubular rim that folds down and in.  The plate is supported by a low tubular foot with a ledge on the floor above and within the centre is a raised dome, a shallow " "omphalos", representing the navel of the world.  The plate is free-blown, the evenness reflecting the skill of the artisan, and the impressively smooth finish was obtained by hand polishing.

For related examples see:  Kunina N. (1997) Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, cat. 430; Hayes J. W. (1975) Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, cat. 177.    

Dimensions: Diameter:  6 inches (15.2 cm)

Condition: Although the glass shows minor abrasive weathering to the part of the rim, the plate is virtually intact with iridescent reflections visible on the surface. It is in excellent condition overall with no chips, cracks or breaks and accompanied by a custom mount (not shown in photos) commissioned by Mr. Crawford from the Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington DC.

Provenance: The William R. Crawford collection of Ancient Glass and Antiquities, acquired from the European trade in the 1950's and then by descent.    William R. Crawford, a retired American career diplomat and expert on the Middle East and Cyprus, was Director of Arab-Israeli Affairs at the State Department between 1959-1964, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Cyprus thereafter.  In the 1970's, he was ambassador to Yemen and then to Cyprus and later became principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asian affairs.  He donated part of his collection to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts prior to his death in 2002.

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